Authors Helping Authors: Creating Book Magic
As the publishing landscape continues to change at the speed of light, authors are stumbling and seeking more ways to help themselves and each other. Information-sharing and networking aren’t just handy keywords, they’re vitally important tools. And while some authors might not want to participate in these functions, even the most resistant are participating because they must to retain any understanding of all that is going on in the industry.
So how exactly do authors go about helping other authors?
In addition to sharing information, authors also engage on the writing. They gather—online, in person, via phone—and brainstorm novels. Checking and double-checking plot, characters, marketing hooks, and targeted audience expectations. They find flaws early, help correct them, and the group leaves with everyone having a new novel planned that’s already been vetted.
Authors read for each other, point out places where the work needs strengthening or missed opportunities that can be addressed. And sharing what in the work excited, interested, or touched them emotionally. Remember, we connect through emotional bonds.
They recommend books to friends, readers and social contacts that the author knows are compatible to an author or his or her books. Mention other authors in their newsletters, write personal endorsements on books they particularly enjoy. They engage for joint social media events and participate at functions.
Authors introduce authors to others who have insights to share and are willing to work together to elevate both. They work together to make the weakest links stronger and the strong links stronger.
In this changing landscape more and more marketing and publicity falls to the author to do, and that’s fine if the author knows what must be done, when it must be done, and how to do it. Few know it all, but all know bits and pieces. Shared, bits and pieces become parts that can be combined with other parts, and that means when authors help authors, no one person must attempt to become expert on everything. That’s an enormous relief to all authors because becoming expert would leave them no time to write.
When an author shares what works well, what doesn’t, or identifies what did work but doesn’t work anymore—that happens a lot these days—it spares authors from making costly errors. It eliminates the need for every single author to trudge through every single mud-puddle every single time.
After you’ve developed a strong working knowledge of the basics, keeping up with just the changes is a challenge. But if you work in a group and each member of the group is assigned to keep up with this or that specific element and then you all share your information, it saves everyone time, energy, money and effort.
There are many reasons authors help authors. Not the least of which is that so much of an author’s writing career requires the author to spend time alone, working inside his or her own head. Having a network group where all members share the workload equally, giving and receiving, also builds bonds that get you out of your head and interacting in real life with other human beings. You have responsibilities but also rewards. And you share them with a special group of people who won’t get glassy-eyed bored at hearing “book talk.” They’re just as enthused and as excited about it as you.
Choose group members who are reliable, who engage and are disciplined. Look for those with strengths in various areas so that each author brings different expertise to the table. If you write the same types of books, that is a blessing and offers extra perks, but it isn’t an absolute requirement. Decide how your group will work, what is expected and what each member can expect. Make the goals and rules clear and then abide by them, work together to reach them.
Authors have always helped authors. Some more than others but now, in the current environment, it’s become even more important to the health of authors’ careers. The whole benefits as do the individual authors, and that’s the goal.
So if you’re an author who needs help, ask for it. But also ask how you can help another author. It’s that synergy that helps create book magic.
© 2014, Vicki Hinze. Hinze is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is Down and Dead in Dixie. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s online community: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. www.vickihinze.com. Sign up for Vicki’s Newsletter.